“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26
It was a long week the other day.
Really. It seemed like a week- those short 16 hours of waking were arduous. They were full of taunts and temptation. For a weary soul the results were , well, less than good. In fact they were sad; the heart fell into the trap of building a barrier. That barrier further complicated an already exhausting situation by making it that much more difficult to penetrate and heal the disappointed heart. I know. It was my heart.
I have written about disappointment this year. It has been a familiar foe- a thorn in our sides that as hard as my hubster and I have tried, we have not been able to be rid of it. Kinda like an ingrown toenail. Just when you think you have it licked, oops! THERE it IS!!! AGAIN! It is part of the training we are undergoing. Kinda like toughening up of a ballerina’s feet. Or the diver who gradually dives deeper and deeper- learning to survive – to discipline oneself to breath on very little oxygen.
Yeah. I know that feeling. Our struggle with our government is like that. We dive deeper into God’s love- unable to see the bottom of the depths nor the light from the surface. And each time we think, “we are almost there- ” we find that we are wrong. And we have to practice proper breathing. We can’t panic. If we panic we will empty ourselves of strength- much like the diver will empty his oxygen tank…
Well, I didn’t do so well the past few weeks. I did all the “right things” while trying to deal with the frustration and disappointment of several cancelled meetings every week. I mean, it’s one thing when you try to make something happen. Then you are partly to blame. But when you surrender it to the Lord then have been called and told, “Ok, we are ready to go; this thing is done”…and then you get stood up every time without notice, it is hard to take.
It is a lesson in
When you can’t see, and your resources are restricted due to the “diving exercise” you are in, it can be difficult not to panic. And the other thing you can do is make the mistake of holding your breath (more on that in a minute).
I didn’t panic. I kept praying- but the prayers seemed empty- powerless. I kept trying to fill my heart with songs. I read the Word, even though after this prolonged struggle it was not speaking to me as in times past. I have always loved the Word. It has always felt like a very intimate friend. But now, it was just distant, almost superficial.
And. I. was. losing. air.
I was not finding the presence of God, and to be brutally honest ( my family says I don’t know any other way to be ? :/)–I was being battered persistently to the point that I was beginning not to care. I was reinforcing the wall of complacency around my slowly hardening heart. I mean, as much as prayer has been a cornerstone, no, the center court of my life, I was drifting. If I had not felt the jerk on my lifeline this morning, I may have drifted too far and disconnected.
Or I could have held my breath, “confessing” what I had heard others say, and what I thought was the “right” thing to be saying when all the while my heart knew better. It was telling me that I needed to reconnect to my “air hose”. I needed to check in with the Holy Spirit as the song below mentions. A slow transition to a stone cold heart had begun.
BUT GOD..! I heard this statement in the message this morning:
” When you are enduring difficulty and you find that you have nearly stopped praying, then it may be that you have unconsciously decided that ‘ He is not hearing me so why pray?’ “ I gasped– that was it!!! I didn’t even realize it, but yeah, if I was to be honest– which is the only way to reconnect with Him and to remain alive in this life; I had begun to flirt with that lie. Then, YANK! God in His own personable, compassionate way got my attention
and re-centered me with my lifeline intact. He can now work on those areas in my life and in my heart where doubt has crept in and begun to turn my heart to stone. Once the lie has been revealed then the freedom can return. In case you are tempted to judge or pull back in shock (especially those that know me well)- remember:
“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful,
a puzzle that no one can figure out.
But I, God, search the heart
and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human.
I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are,
not as they pretend to be.” Jeremiah 17:9 ( The Message version)
Our hearts are complex and can be deceptive. We can think we are o.k. when all the while we are being lured into a trap. But we know something has changed. Something is not quite right. If you find yourself there, then check your tank. Check your connection to your lifeline. Check YOUR HEART.
Are there little pebbles forming?
Don’t let the brick mason move in and complete his work! Beware that his blueprint contains more than just a wall, but a host of idols and rooms of deceit. And one of the ways that nasty brick mason gains access is through disappointment.
As if the hard “yank” of my chain wasn’t enough; like the true parent that He is, He reinforced the message with a song that I heard today for the first time:
Lyrics: Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols
Jerk the pews and all the decorations, too
Until the congregation’s few, then have revival
Tell your friends that this is where the party ends
Until you’re broken for your sins, you can’t be social
Then seek the Lord and wait for what He has in store
And know that great is your reward so just be hopeful
‘Cause I can sing all I want to
Yes, I can sing all I want to
And we can sing all we want to
And we can sing all we want to
We can sing all we want to
And still get it wrong
Worship is more than a song
Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols…
So now Dear Abba Father, please pour Your holy fire into my heart, cleanse my thoughts, create in my a clean heart, O G_d, and renew a right spirit within me…one that continues to believe and freely admits that a situation sucks but that YOU are good and YOU are wise and YOU are faithful and my “day in court” so to speak, will soon come. My times are in Your hand. I offer up my heart to You to renew- to re-shape and to refill with Your life, truth and strength.